Antonio McKinney had two goals before Windsor’s GISA Class AA boys quarterfinal game Saturday against visiting Grace Christian.
The senior figured accomplishing the first would lead to the second. McKinney was on the mark, scoring 19 points to crack 1,000 for his career to help the Knights to a 70-55 victory.
“I knew I was going to score,” said the 6-foot-3 wing, who now has 1,006 points in a Windsor career that began in the second semester of his sophomore year. “I feel like when I go on the court, nobody is going to stop me, and that’s how I played it.
“I wanted to get (1,000) out of the way and then get the ‘W.’ ”
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The basket that handed him the milestone was key in the Knights’ effort. After Grace (19-8) had trimmed an 18-6 deficit to 20-15 three minutes into the second quarter, McKinney nailed a 3-pointer to start a 12-4 surge for a 32-19 halftime cushion.
Although they threatened late, the Cougars never were able to get the deficit in single digits after that.
The win sends the Knights (26-4) into Friday’s 2:30 p.m. semifinal game against Dawson Street Christian at Mercer’s Hawkins Arena. Dawson Street eliminated Robert Toombs 72-70 in their quarterfinal.
Marquise Jackson led the Knights with 20 points while fellow guard Dylan Bass added 11, including a trio of 3-pointers. Jackson had some big buckets to help halt Courgars runs. He had four points in the spurt to close the first half, one off a steal and layup. The sophomore came through with another on two occasions when Grace threatened to get its deficit into single digits twice in the opening minutes of the final quarter.
“He’s our high energy guy,” Windsor head coach Michael Johnson said of the 5-foot-10 Jackson. “Whenever we get down whether defensively or offensively, he seems to find a way to get us back on track. His game whole game is extremely important to us.”
Jack McRae led the Cougars with 23 points, while Noah Thomas had 13. After the Knights sprinted to a 12-2 lead with 10 straight points courtesy of its pressure defense, McRae countered with eight straight before Thomas hit a 3 to make it 20-15 two minutes into the second quarter.
“We didn’t handle the pressure, and Windsor took advantage of it,” Grace head coach Mallory McRae said. “We just weren’t patient enough and settled for shots we didn’t need to be taking at that point. But that kind of pressure will do some weird things to you.
“We settled down and made a run, but they picked it right back up. Windsor was just the better team.”
Windsor hasn’t advanced this far in the state tournament since finishing runner-up in 1976. This season’s region title was the Knights first since 1981.
“It’s been a history-making year,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of overwhelming when you think how long it’s been since Windsor has been this far. The Final Four is a great feeling.”